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Advisory Board

The Camp Kesem MIT Advisory Board works behind the scenes throughout the year to help the staff prepare and run camp. We’re very excited to introduce you to our wonderful advisory board for Camp Kesem MIT 2015.

Advisory Board Chair

Nate Lamkin (“Matrix”)

Nate has been in professional social work practice for 15 years, about evenly divided between management/operations and direct practice with clients. His focus has been in healthcare, primarily in hospice, palliative care, and oncology settings. In his current role at Care Dimensions (formerly Hospice of the North Shore & Greater Boston), Nate serves as the Director of The Bertolon Center for Grief & Healing and is responsible for the planning, development, implementation, and evaluation the Center’s extensive array of programs and services.  Nate also provides programmatic oversight of several specialty programs, including Care Dimensions’ Pediatric Hospice services.

Prior experience includes taking two new hospice programs through initial licensure and certification and managing the Social Work Department of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.  Nate has supported children and families coping with life-limiting illness, loss, and grief through both individual and group counseling in multiple settings.

In addition to serving as Chair of the CK-MIT Advisory Board, Nate (who goes by “Matrix” at Camp) serves as an on-site Mental Health Professional during Camp.  “My involvement with CK-MIT is one of the most rewarding things I’ve done professionally,” Nate said. “Each year I continue to be more impressed with the CK-MIT students and the extraordinary positive impact they make on these kids and their families.”


Advisory Board Members

Albert Kao (“Panda”)

Albert “Panda” Kao has held multiple coordinator positions at Camp Kesem’s MIT chapter and chaired the ALB Membership Committee. Panda currently works at Deloitte Consulting in the Technology Practice and has traveled to projects in Nevada, Kentucky, and NYC. He enjoys following the OKC Thunder NBA team, trying out different workouts, and eating food.

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Anne E. Deconinck

Anne E. Deconinck is the Executive Director of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT (KI). She spearhead outreach efforts, including industrial and clinical partnerships, external collaborations, and communications. Mrs. Deconinck oversees the KI’s partnership with Janssen, a division of Johnson and Johnson, and the Bridge Project, a unique translational research effort between the KI and Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center.

Born and raised in Belgium, she received her BSc in Biochemistry from King’s College London in 1992 and her PhD in Biological Sciences from the University of Oxford in 1996. After graduating, she received a Fulbright Award to work as a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Stuart Orkin at Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School. Her postdoctoral research focused on the identification and analysis of novel transcription factors in hematopoiesis. She then returned to England for two years to study muscle-blood lineage development at the University of York. In 2003, she joined the Howard Hughes Medical Institute as a research specialist in Professor Tyler Jacks’s laboratory at MIT, which focuses on the development and characterization of mouse models of human cancer.

She was a key member of the multidisciplinary team that led the launch of the KI in 2007, working closely with the architectural and design teams during the planning and building phase of the facility. In 2011, she expanded her role to support the participation of KI faculty in collaborative programs. She was named Executive Director in 2013.

She spends most of her spare time with her two young Jedi Knights, aged five and nine.


Diane Legg

Diane Legg, a ten year Stage IV lung cancer survivor, has also been a strong advocate in raising awareness and changing healthcare police regarding lung cancer.  In 2011, Diane and her husband, David, founded LUNGstrong Inc., a non-profit that funds innovative lung cancer research. She was the co-chair of the New England Chapter of Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA), a voluntary position, from 2006 – 2012. Diane was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer at the age of 42.

The mother of 3 boys, now 18, 16, and 11, she has dedicated much of the last nine years educating people, and advocating for more research and an early detection screening protocol for lung cancer.  She organized the first “Shine a Light on Lung Cancer” vigil in Boston eight years ago, which has now become an international event.  Diane educates federal and state legislators on the urgency for funding lung cancer research and an early detection protocol while raising awareness of the profound public health impact of lung cancer.

Eli Van Allen (“Flash”)

Eliezer Van Allen, MD, is an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and a medical oncologist the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He has been involved with Camp Kesem since it’s inception in 2001 at Stanford University, and also co-founded Camp Kesem-UCLA in 2004.

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Julie Norman

Julie Norman serves as Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education and direct the Office of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming.  This office provides student-centric services to enhance the academic success and personal growth of undergraduates.  This includes coordinating first year student programming; facilitating academic advising and mentoring relationships; providing academic and personal support through S3 and Student Disabilities Services; overseeing the Committee on Academic Performance; and managing IAP and UROP.  She is the Principle Investigator for both the Amgen Scholars Global Program Office and the MIT Amgen Scholars summer research program.  Prior to coming to MIT in 2000, Julie served as a professor and department head at Montana Tech of the University of Montana.

On a personal note, I have five grandchildren – four girls and a baby boy!  My interests lie in gardening; spending time at my home in Charleston, SC, on the beach with grand kids; golfing; and traveling.


Karl Ruping

My 12 year old daughter, Nanako/Nacho Cheese, has been attending Camp Kesem since 2011. Before my wife passed away from pancreatic cancer, I was a Fellow in the School of Engineering. Nanako attended the Technology Children Center at Stata, and can say that she already graduated from MIT! The Camp Kesem community has played an important role in her life — not just the camp but the related events and deep friendships.

Ron Furman

Ron earned a BS in Business Management and recently completed his MBA in Human Resource Management at UMass/Amherst. He has extensive experience as an executive in the hospitality industry with an emphasis on CRM, multi-site operations, contract/vendor management, project management, team development/training and strategic business planning.

Most recently he was Chief Operating Officer for American Camp and Work Experience, a US State Department designated J1 Visa Sponsor, where he spent the past 11 years administering the Camp Counselor and Summer Work and Travel Cultural Exchange Programs.

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Yun Xue (“Rain”)

Yun Xue is a third-year medical student at Harvard Medical School. Camp Kesem was the highlight of her time at MIT, and she considers herself so lucky to be able to see camp grow better each year as an advisory board member. She looks forward to helping out in any way she can in the upcoming year! In her free time, she likes to eat frozen yogurt, sing songs on repeat, and read good books.